Visibility is as important as ability… not more, not less. Remember, in good old school days, there were a couple of students in the class who were teachers’ pride and students’ envy? And we always referred to them as chamchas/chamchis? The point we missed was to note their innate ability to be more visible amongst the lot of 60+ students.
So if you have been working 80–90 hours a week, flying several thousand miles away from your family, being away from your loved ones on your special days and feel that the deserved promotion went to less deserving candidate, you will have to do more than sulking and cribbing. You will have to reflect and question yourself.
I have been working as a coach with many senior women leaders, and a topic which surfaces very often is: is visibility really required and is it really that big a deal? To which my answer is, YES. It is very important and it is a big deal.
Let’s understand what we mean by visibility. For starters, visibility is not an escape tool for being effective and efficient employee. In today’s complex and competitive business world, being good is not good enough to get ahead in your career. If the organization and stakeholders are not aware of your work, skills and results, chances are that you could miss on the upcoming promotion, an interesting project or a coveted posting. Visibility is about being known for your work and positive qualities.
Many of us are uncomfortable talking about ourselves. Don’t worry, it’s a fairly common phenomenon.
Here are some simple ways to boost your visibility at workplace:
Volunteer your time and skills. When there is requirement of that little extra help, pitch in for writing a brief, put the minutes together, help a team mate with a deadline, and so on. It doesn’t matter if the jobs are big or small. You’ll get to know new people, and you’ll gain a reputation as a dependable, hard worker. If your organization supports CSR projects in the community, offer to help with these. While you are doing good for community, you are also building your personal relationships and visibility.
Speak up in the meeting room. Raise your hand and share your opinions. If you are worried about what others will think of you, how they would react, go well prepared for the meeting. Know the agenda, the participants, their behavior, their skills, their contributions. Preparation and knowledge would help you gain confidence to be vocal and visible.
Maintain a diary of your accomplishments. It’s a very good habit to record your own achievements – what special efforts you put in to make a project successful or how helped the organization save money or acquire a new client. If you do not keep a track of your own performance, who else would? This would not only help in a better performance review conversation, but also would boost your confidence and belief in yourself. When you believe you have done a good job, it is easier to talk about it.
Connect with coworkers. Planning picnics, lunches, celebrations give you an opportunity to connect with people on a personal note. It also creates a socially positive image. A hello, a smile, a congratulatory note on a colleague’s achievement, a compliment when someone has done a good job go a long way.
Most importantly, be humane, be genuine. Don’t do something just because it will increase your visibility quotient – you will get caught. None of the above mentioned tips require any special skills. These just require an increase in self awareness, empathy and persistence.